You know what your market and niche are and now you would like to understand more about the needs and frustrations of your ideal customers.
Get external inputs
Don’t get stuck in figuring out by yourself the challenges that your ideal customers are facing: ask them directly. If you can’t contact them, note their questions and comments that you find online.
The first thing is to ask your current audience, if you have one. If you don’t, here are some suggestions to find new contacts to interview.
Where do your ideal customers hang out in real life?
Do they attend specific events or meetups where you could go and discuss with them?
For example, if you plan to open an organic chocolate business, are there regular meetups related to organic food that you could attend? Can you find local chocolate or food festivals?
If you share similar interests with your ideal customers, are there activities or hobbies where you could find them and discuss with like-minded people?
Does your audience use a specific social media platform where you could get in touch with them?
Are they posting questions or comments on specific websites?
Using the organic chocolate business example, you could look for Facebook pages that are related to organic food or chocolate and see the type of posts or articles that are liked and shared.
Joining specific Facebook groups could also be more interactive than looking at the activities of a Facebook page.
If you think that your audience is on LinkedIn, there is a paid feature (InMail) that allows you to contact people who are not in your network.
Planning your interviews
When you plan the interviews with your audience, make sure that you tell them in advance how long it would take. Try to make it short (20 or 30 minutes) to respect their time unless they offer to discuss longer.
Prepare your list of questions
Prepare your questions in advance as a guideline for your discussion but listen to what people have to say and adapt your conversation based on their inputs.
Clarify the goal of your interviews
Are you looking for confirming some of your assumptions about your business or do you want to find a specific problem that you can solve?
If you ask dozens of questions, make sure that most of them are open-ended questions versus closed questions (yes or no answers).
Ask questions to understand the challenges of your audience and how they try to resolve them.
Listen to their experience and avoid influencing their answers with your own assumptions.
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Respect your interviewee’s time
Show up on time for your interview, listen to what your interviewee has to say as she might approach the problem you are trying to solve from an angle that you haven’t thought about.
Finish your interview on time.
After your interview, send a message or a note to thank your contact for her time.
Once you are done with all your interviews, analyze the inputs you received and see how you can serve your audience.
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